A $6-million commercial and residential development may rise on the site of the former Jackson Fisheries building in Port Stanley.
A London realtor has bought the old waterfront fish plant and market and envisions a condominium development sitting atop commercial space.
“It is waterfront and you just don’t get a lot of chances to buy waterfront as a developer. I am big on Port Stanley,” said Craig Hansford of Maverick Real Estate on Colborne Street in London.
“I see this as a very high-end building.”
Hansford bought the 7,000-square-foot building for $1.7 million and with construction costs, his investment will total $6.2 million, he predicted. His offer on the building has been accepted, but the sale is not expected to close until December, he said.
“It is more than I wanted to spend, but you can’t duplicate waterfront,” he said.
Hansford said he does not plan to demolish the solid concrete structure, but will use it in his new design. He would like to build 14 condo units on site.
“We will keep the building. We will do our due diligence, but it is poured concrete throughout and I think I can go four storeys (high) on site,” Hansford said.
“A lot will depend on the municipality and what they say.”
Central Elgin, which includes Port Stanley, has not received a planning application for the site, said Lloyd Perrin, the municipality’s asset management and development director.
The village has seen a building boom in recent years, he said. Five residential subdivisions are underway or planned, one featuring a four-storey, 56-unit development.
“The secret is out about Port Stanley. It is not just provincial, but it is getting known nationally. There is a lot of new development happening and people from across Canada are moving to Port Stanley and calling it home,” Perrin said.
“It is growing, that is for sure.”
Municipal building figures back him up. In 2020, $64.8 million worth of building permits were issued in Central Elgin, up from $54.6 million in 2019. Another $15.8 million in permits have been issued in the first three months of 2021.
“It is what we are seeing all across Southwestern Ontario,” Perrin said. “People are leaving the (Toronto area). Port Stanley has been a vacation summer hot spot, but we are seeing a trend where people want permanent residence in a small village on the water with access to shops, restaurants and golf.”
From 2019 to 2020, the number of permits jumped from 397 to 430 and new home builds rose from 116 to 143. While those figures are for all of Central Elgin, Port Stanley dominated the building totals. It has a population of about 4,000, Perrin said.
This year, the municipality is expected to finalize its harbour secondary plan that will detail how the village will grow. The plan is expected to propose green space by the waterfront, a limit on the height of residential development and a hotel and convention centre near the waterfront.
“It is a long-term land use planning document for the future,” Perrin said.